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Int Rev Cytol. 2008;265:227-52. doi: 10.1016/S0074-7696(07)65006-2.

Providing unique insight into cell biology via atomic force microscopy.

Author information

1
Institute of Physiology II, University of Muenster, D-48149 Muenster, Germany.

Abstract

The invention of atomic force microscopy (AFM) some two decades ago opened up new realms for our perception of cell biology. AFM produces three-dimensional images of biological surfaces at atomic resolution in physiologically relevant environments. Beyond this one-of-a-kind capability, AFM can be applied to cell biology for a variety of investigations, such as to recognize single molecules at work and study their function and structure. This admirable technique is also being widely applied to measure forces, study characteristic surface properties such as adhesion, and detect mechanical responses, for example, volume and elasticity changes of cells to various physiological and pathophysiological stimuli. In more recent years, AFM has become the most rapidly developing imaging technique. In this chapter, the AFM capabilities and the usefulness of its broad application to cell biology are highlighted, with the emphasis on structural and functional investigations into a number of biological samples focusing on cells, membranes, and single molecules.

PMID:
18275890
DOI:
10.1016/S0074-7696(07)65006-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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